From her home near Bakersfield, Lulu Nelson describes her only son Brian Pedro as loving and funny.
"He could be a pain as most kids do and most parents will say, you know, but he was the greatest guy," said Nelson.
Pedro, a 27-year-old Sergeant in the U.S. Army, spent most of his life in Oceanside. He graduated from El Camino High School in 2002.
"He was adventurous, so he always went after something he knew was dangerous and he had to try," Nelson said.
She said after watching the attacks on 9-11, her son knew right then and there, he wanted to fight for our country.
His dream came true when he joined the Army.
But on Saturday, during his second tour in Afghanistan Sgt. Pedro was killed when insurgents attacked his unit.
"He believed he was protecting our country and his family, friends and fighting with fellow soldiers out there, trying to do the right thing," Nelson said.
When Sgt. Pedro wasn't overseas fighting for our country, he was living with his wife Shanna in Vista. In December, they would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary.
The couple was planning to start a family of their own.
"That's what makes all of this so shocking, that his career and life were cut short, knowing that he had so much to accomplish," Nelson said.
Sgt. Pedro will be buried in San Diego County later this month. His family will receive the awards he earned while in Afghanistan, including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.